Image credit: Jarred Kelenic (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
The start of the Major League Baseball season is less than two weeks away, which means summer camp is in full swing. That means there is plenty of time for prospects to compete in intrasquad and exhibition games. Each day during the week we will be providing a roundup from summer camp that includes highlights, debuts of 2020 draftees and more.
—Braves’ No. 1 prospect Cristian Pache Monday left the team’s intrasquad scrimmage under his own power after jamming his right foot or ankle while trying to steal second base, according to MLB reporter Mark Bowman. Braves’ manager Brian Snitker told David O’Brien of the Athletic that Pache Tuesday would not be limited at all. The outfielder made plenty of strides between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019 after making his first major league camp and is poised to make his major league debut this season.
—Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde Monday told Baseball America correspondent Roch Kubatko that he believes No. 5 prospect Ryan Mountcastle “could” make his major league debut this season, although he will head to the team’s alternate training site and not make the Opening Day roster. Mountcastle, a first baseman, has shown the ability to hit at every level and was the 2019 International League MVP.
Chicago White Sox
—Luis Robert Monday used his 70-grade speed to run from first base and score on a Jose Abreu double to left field. Robert, who hit a falling down home run over the weekend, had singled to reach base earlier in the inning. The No. 2 prospect in baseball is an aggressive baserunner and stole 36 bases in 2019.
—Reds’ No. 2 prospect Jonathan India Sunday hit a scorching home run off righthander Lucas Sims in the team’s intrasquad game. The third baseman finished the 2019 season with a strong stretch at Double-A in his first taste of the upper minors, hitting .270/.414/.378 with three home runs, but needs to see his plus raw power translate in games more consistently.
—A new week brings another outstanding catch by a Tigers outfielder. No. 22 prospect Derek Hill last week submitted his catch of the year candidate and Riley Greene Monday added another impressive defensive grab, ranging back in left field and leaping over the fence to rob a home run. The Tigers’ No. 4 prospect has the above-average fielding ability and arm strength to stick in right field at the major league level and the overall skill set of a five-tool player.
—Speaking of Hill, the center fielder Monday added to his highlight reel with a diving catch on a short fly ball. Hill, who is one of the best defensive outfielders in the minors, has not played above Double-A, but could add value as a defensive substitute to the major league club.
Los Angeles Dodgers
—Edwin Rios Sunday once again provided evidence to the power of his bat, hitting a no-doubt home run to right field off three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw for his third home run of the week. The Dodgers’ No. 13 prospect looks to build upon his four-home run, 28-game major league debut from 2019.
—Righthander Brusdar Graterol Sunday had no trouble retiring all three batters he faced, needing just 10 pitches in the seventh inning. The Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect came over from the Twins in the three-team trade that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. Graterol’s plus fastball averaged 99 mph in 9.2 major league innings last season out of the bullpen and he could play a role as a power reliever for Los Angeles in 2020.
—Marlins’ first-round pick Max Meyer Monday put in work at summer camp, even getting on the mound to show off his impressive three-pitch mix that includes 70-grade offerings (fastball, slider) and an above-average changeup, giving him the best pure stuff of any 2020 draftee.
New York Mets
—The Mets Monday added seven players to their 60-man player pool, headlined by No. 7 prospect Thomas Szapucki. Joining the lefthander are righthanders Jordan Humphreys (No. 11) and Franklyn Kilome (No. 13).
San Diego Padres
—Padres’ No. 10 prospect Ryan Weathers Sunday retired six of the eight batters he faced, including Francisco Mejia and Fernando Tatis Jr. The lefthander sat 95-97 mph on his fastball and impressed manager Jayce Tingler with the aggressiveness he showed in attacking hitters.
—Mariners’ No. 2 prospect Jarred Kelenic outdueled Mariners’ top prospect Julio Rodriguez Monday by hitting two home runs in the team’s intrasquad game. In addition to having 60-grade power, Kelenic has four other above-average or better tools, making the outfielder one of the most complete prospects in the sport.
Toronto Blue Jays
—Blue Jays’ No. 4 prospect Alejandro Kirk Monday put on a show, displaying his bat speed and compact swing in batting practice and later hitting a home run to left center field on an 0-2 pitch in Toronto’s intrasquad game. Kirk has had trouble staying healthy through his first three professional seasons—playing just one game in 2017, 58 in 2018 and 92 in 2019—but he hits when he’s on the field, evidenced by his .290/.403/.465 slash line between low Class A and high Class A in 2019.